Terrorist attacks, deaths in BD increased in 2015: US

Terrorist attacks, deaths in BD increased in 2015: US

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The United States has said terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in Bangladesh in 2015 though Bangladesh has articulated a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards terrorism and remained committed to counterterrorism cooperation.In 2015, Bangladesh experienced an increase in terrorist attacks against religious minorities and government installations and for the first time, ‘transnational groups’ have claimed responsibility for these attacks, said the US in its ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2015′.
The report released on Thursday also named several countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, where terrorist attacks and total deaths increased in 2015.
The report in its Bangladesh part said terrorist organisations used social media to spread their radical ideologies and solicit followers from Bangladesh.
More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries– Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria.
And 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan.
Bangladesh experienced a significant increase in terrorist attacks and violent extremist activity in 2015 compared to 2014, the report said.
The government of Bangladesh has attributed these attacks to the ‘political opposition and local terrorists’.
Transnational groups such as ISIL and AQ in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have claimed several attacks targeting foreigners, religious minorities, police, secular bloggers, and publishers, the report read.
According to the statistical annex prepared by the University of Maryland and appended to the report, the total number of terrorist attacks in 2015 decreased by 13 percent when compared to 2014, according to a message received here from the US Department of State on Friday.
Total fatalities, due to terrorist attacks, decreased by 14 percent, principally as a result of fewer attacks and deaths in Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria, said acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell at a special briefing in Washington, DC.
This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities worldwide since 2012, he said.
The US Department of State released the Country Reports on Terrorism, which described the counterterrorism landscape during the last calendar year and fulfilled an important congressional mandate.
The report allowed the US to regularly assess our effectiveness and make informed assessments about policies and priorities and where to place resources.
Although terrorist attacks took place in 92 countries in 2015, they were heavily concentrated geographically, as they have been for the last – past several years.
The US report said Bangladesh participated in the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism in February and follow-on summits.
Bangladesh also joined the Saudi-led Islamic counterterrorism alliance announced in December last year, the report read.
AQIS claimed attacks on February 26, March 30, May 12, August 7, and October 31 that resulted in the murders of four bloggers and a publisher, including an American citizen, the report mentioned.
ISIL also claimed nine attacks, including the murder of an Italian NGO worker (September 28): a Japanese aid worker (October 3), and an attack on an Italian priest (November 18), the report mentioned.
ISIL, according to the US report, reportedly was behind an attack on a Shia Ashura procession (October 24) that killed one person and injured nearly 100; an attack on a police checkpoint (November 4) killing a police officer; and a December 25 suicide attack on an Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque.
The attacker died in the December 25 attack and the press reported 10 to 12 injuries.
Bangladesh cooperated with the United States to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry, the US report said.
It observed that Bangladesh is active in several international fora and the government, in 2015, demonstrated strong interest in cooperating with India on counterterrorism.

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